Playwright and performer Gaynor O’Flynn’s show has a meditative quality, with spiritual aims, that makes for novel and thought-provoking theatre.
The fascinating character in Time is “a woman of a certain age” that O’Flynn makes intriguing as well as relatable. Looking back on the past with grim frankness, she stalks old friends online. These contemporaries, described as “bigger, better, brighter” women, are heard from via video projections.
Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve
It turns out these other women – wealthy through careers in law, TV, music, tech, art – are all jealous. They remember our protagonist’s freedom, a flowing approach to life that contrasts with the fixed paths they have travelled. The spooky projections seem to have it all, to have achieved what they set out to do, but suffer from imposter syndrome and dream about what might have been.
When it comes to the role of time in all of this, perhaps not surprisingly given the complexity of the subject, the show doesn’t quite convince. It’s hard not to make such ruminating seem solipsistic and the characters can come across as somewhat spoilt. A concluding acceptance of past and present seems woolly – in stark contrast to how focused both writing, structure and performance are.
The video monologues might be a little too neat and, despite being admirably concise, there might be too many of them. But the friends’ admiration of our central figure – who many admit they didn’t know well – raises a lot of questions. How accurate are any of these narrators? The script has a musicality that is strangely hypnotic, the detail is impressive, and the show questions ideas of “success” very… successfully, which all makes it 60 minutes of time well spent.
Until 12 March 2023